Coming of age movies are always a box office bonanza – and this film was an award magnet at the end of the decadefor its unique acting performances – Breaking Away.
Set in Bloomington, Indiana, Breaking Away focused on the friendship of four working class guys, finished with highschool and not sure what to do next with their lives.
Dave, Mike, Cyril and Moocher, played by Dennis Christopher, Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern and Jackie Earle Haley were the cast of local characters seeking their future in smalltown Indiana.
Dave is obsessed with competitive cycling and pretends to be Italian, trying to woo a university student, become pals with a visiting cycling team from Italy and instead becomes the victim, with the team scorning him and the university student’s boyfriend beating up his friend thinking its him.
The friends decide to form their own cycling team to compete in the Little 500 race, proudly wearing t-shirts with the name “Cutters” printed on them, the derogatory term thrown at their working class families, as most of them laboured in the local stone quarrys.
The film’s culmination is the team competing in the race and believing in themselves as they push ahead with their dreams of coming in first and rising above the prejudice that has followed them their whole lives.
I remember seeing this film a few years after release – its inspiring story reminded me of why I had left a small town, as much as why I knew it had made me a strong person. Breaking Away was nominated for several Academy Awards, won the Oscar for Best Screenplay and won a Golden Globe for Best Comedy or Musical.
Voted as one of the Most Inspiring Films by the American Film Institute, Breaking Away’s simple premise of wanting to realize your dreams is a film that doesn’t age and is as worthy a view now as it was when released.